So Metachat, whatcha readin? →
I just got though Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts
, his latest nonfiction door stopper and I have to say despite being bored with WW2 stuff - this was pretty engrossing.
For one thing, its about something different then the standard Nazi stuff; the ins and outs of the US embassy during the lead up to WW2 with a very unlikely ambassador and his family moving into the upper echelons of Berlin high society.
And it's largely pulled from memoirs, so he casts a scene and then pulls from a few different memoirs of the people present which adds to his very novelistic feel (and a level of unreality, some of the memoirs present scenes that read as very ...."based on true events" and to his credit Larson notes that anything involving exact dialogue should be taken with a grain of salt) But the main joy of the book is Martha Dodd, the flamboyant daughter of the ambassador who is at turns charming, infuriating, intelligent, naive, hopelessly romantic and a complete libertine. If she didn't exist Isherwood would've had to invent her.
My only criticism is that it's all well covered ground if you're into the "Berlin between the wars" stuff, but the glimpses into the Old Boy network of the Foreign office and how the various people perceived the historical events as they happened made for above average plane reading.